“The most important thing we can accomplish in this lifetime is true self-appreciation and self-acceptance whether or not we see the number that we want on the morning scale” – Katherine Woodward
Do you avoid certain environments because of your body image?
Do you find that you constantly judge yourself for the way you look/your weight?
Do you struggle to accept compliments about your appearance?
OK ladies, raise your hand if you have ever caught yourself being unloving toward your body, saying something such as “I am too fat”, “Because of the way I look I can’t…(date, network, get a new job etc)”, “I just hate my stomach” or words to that effect.
I know in the past I have been guilty of saying real mean things about the way I look, but the truth is, I didn’t know any better and nobody was teaching me how to love and accept myself back then. In fact, I truly believe that the women closest to me were also never taught the ‘art of self-love’ so I had to learn and you can to.
Self-love will completely change your relationship with life for the better
I want you to take a brief moment to imagine phoning a friend every waking hour of each day, to highlight her flaws and imperfections and then proceed to explain why the way she looks will keep her from achieving what she desires in life.
Think she would stick around you for long?
Would you benefit from having someone like that in your life?
No, nope, nada, I hear you say. Then why oh why do so many engage in this negative dialogue with themselves on a daily basis?
HABIT. LIMITING BELIEFS. UNHEALED WOUNDS. WHAT WE WERE TOLD.
The cycle must be broken ladies, let the pattern of self-loathing and chronic body shaming end with you. Our body image will determine how we interact in the world and I want to help you along the journey to self-love.
So how do we begin to love and accept our bodies, right now, as we are?
Well, there is something that I didn’t know I had to do until I became an Empowerment Coach. Something that I believed only time could and would do for me.
Curious? It is called healing…
Below, I will show you 3 ways you can begin the healing process to develop a more loving relationship with yourself and the body you have right now;
To create a more abundant and fulfilled life which will also reflect how you view yourself, you must learn and practice forgiveness. The saying goes that your mind controls your mood, so the more you can forgive the unloving thoughts, the better you will feel about yourself and then proceed to create more harmonious thoughts.
Here is an exercise I learned from one of my mentors Katherine Woodward. This will support you to forgive the negative self talk, beliefs and distorted images you may have experienced in relation to your body.
First, stand in front of a mirror naked and tell yourself ‘I love you’
You are now going to begin at the top of your head and work your way down, stopping at every body part you have judged and for each, I want you to do the following three things;
- Ask that specific part of your body to please forgive all the times you spoke negatively toward it
- Say one thing you are grateful to that body part for
- Tell that particular body part thank you, for the thing you are most grateful for
After having my son and then a follow up operation 18 months later, I found myself talking badly about my stomach and wishing it were different. Using this body part as an example, I will demonstrate the exercise, steps 1 through 3.
- Stomach please, please forgive me for all the negative and unkind words I uttered towards you
- I am so grateful that you were able to be the home of my amazing little boy for 9 months
- I thank you for healing without challenge or struggle post operations and keeping my child safe and warm whilst he was growing inside
Repeat this exercise as many times as necessary until you find you are no longer judging or criticising any area of your body.
It is now time to forgive yourself for what you have said in the past and begin speaking with only love and kindness towards your body. After all, it is the home of your soul and deserves to be treated with nothing but respect.
Repetition is the key to success and I encourage you to think and repeat loving words and phrases to yourself as often as you can, especially in the beginning of this journey.
I have not always been one to use affirmations, but I recently came across the most amazing metaphysician & spiritual teacher; Florence Scovel Shinn, and since reading her books and using the suggested affirmations, my relationship with myself and life has shifted for the better.
Another wise soul Tony Robbins, says he too uses affirmations. However, it is not just simply saying these phrases once or twice, oh no, Tony explains that his breakthroughs and shifts come when he repeats powerful affirmations hundreds of times a day.
We must be willing to repeat consistently, words that affirm the life we wish to create and the type of person we desire to become. Use affirmations to affirm your beauty, raise your self-esteem and accept your body.
Here are a few you can start with;
I am a spiritual being – my body is perfect
I am at peace with myself and with the whole world
I am the prettiest mom in the world
I am a sassy, sexy, loving wife
I am a fierce female and wherever I go, my magnetism turns heads
I feel alive in my body and I inspire other women to love themselves just as they are
The key is that the affirmation must feel good to you.
*Pause* Take the time to comment on this article and share an affirmation that you are using or plan to use moving forward.
Heal Your Inner Little Girl
I was hosting a group coaching call and one of the ladies expressed that she was ready to meet her soul mate. However, in that very same conversation she mentioned how she had recently begun calling herself ugly and noticing the heavy bags under her eyes. This by far, is not the relationship you want to have with yourself when calling in your soul mate, as the way we treat and feel about ourselves will be reflected in our romantic relationships.
As I dug a little deeper, it became clear that the very things this individual had been saying to herself, were what her father began telling her at the tender age of 12. This client believed she was ugly because that is what she had been told for years and that is what has happened in the lives of many other women also.
You may never get an apology from those who have hurt you by making you feel wrong about the way you look, but you do not have to continue where they left off with ongoing negative self talk, body bashing and self-loathing.
To make peace with your body and your past, I believe it is crucial to reconnect with that hurt little girl and let her know she never deserved that treatment (whoever it began with), you were just a little girl and it is time you gave her some attention and begin to heal the wounds that have been left open for so many years.
Here is a statement written by Robert Burney, that you can use to begin this process and to understand that what you experienced growing up (which has resulted in the self-critique, judgements and low self-esteem), was not your fault and you didn’t deserve it.
“You were a beautiful, special little girl, a precious innocent little girl. It's not okay that you did not feel wanted. It is not okay that you were treated in a way that made you feel bad (whatever way you may have felt e.g unlovable , angry, hurt). I am so sorry that you felt so bad and thought it was your fault. I am now willing to learn to be loving to you, to have compassion for you, to own you and rescue you from that critical parent voice. I promise to be more loving and compassionate to myself from here on out”
I invite you to read the above statement and repeat it as often as you can.
I want you to remember that we don’t need to change the outside e.g. lose weight, get our bums and breast done before we begin to love ourselves, we can start right now with the inner work, as that is where the real transformation will take place.
If changing your outside appearance makes you feel, by all means, go for it, but know that doing this alone is not going to give you the gift of self-love. True appreciation of self, comes from the healing process. I invite you to begin there.
“When we claim our beauty, the world follows suit” – Regina Thomasher